Bethany House Publishers (November 1, 2012), ISBN 978-0764210266
HS Grades 8-12 Rating: 4
Award-winning author Anne Elisabeth Stengl continues her Tales of Goldstone Wood series with Starflower, a prequel to her first three books. Starflower takes place more than sixteen hundred years earlier, but lays the foundation for the story in Heartless.
Starflower tells how Hri Sora the dragon loses her wings and dragon form. In order for her dragon father to restore her back to dragon form, she must find the Flowing Gold of Rudiobus, securely hidden by the queen of fairies. Hri Sora kidnaps the queen’s cousin, Gleamdren, in an attempt to find the Flowing Gold. Meanwhile, Lady Gleamdren believes an army of suitors will follow in pursuit to rescue her when, to her dismay, only two of them make the attempt: the Bard Eanrin, and Glomar, the Captain of the Guard.
Glomar and Eanrin compete to rescue Gleamdren, knowing whoever reaches her first wins her favor. On the way, Eanrin comes across a deaf mortal woman, Starflower, under an enchantment. Eanrin takes her on his quest to Hri Sora’s castle. Starflower (or Imraldera as she is called later) is pursued by the Beast (the Wolf Lord) and his Black Dogs, as well as by the Hound. Imraldera gains Gleamdren’s freedom in exchange for assisting Hri Sora in her quest to complete her quest.
In her author’s note, Stengl shares she was partially inspired by the poem The Hound of Heaven by Francis Thompson. Anyone familiar with this poem will be reminded of it. The Hound in Starflower pursues Imeldera, as does the Black Dogs, slaves to the Wolf Lord. One hounds her to life, the other to death.
Carol R. Gehringer, www.worthy2read.wordpress.com
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